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Indspire releases report on looming gap in Indigenous education funding

Ohsweken – June 30, 2020.

Indspire today released Building Brighter Futures Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards Program Recipients’ Outcome Report, a report on groundbreaking research conducted by Indspire’s Research Knowledge Nest. The report discovered an imminent problem in Indigenous education in Canada: while more and more Indigenous students are attending or want to attend post-secondary institutions, the funding is not there to adequately support them.

Indspire is the second-largest funder, after the federal government, of Indigenous post-secondary education in Canada. Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures (BBF) program awarded $17.8 million in bursaries, scholarships and grants to First Nation, Inuit and Métis students in the 2019-2020 school year.

The report interviewed 6,500 Individuals who received BBF funding over the past six years, and found impressive achievements in both educational and employment outcomes :

  • Approximately 90% of BBF recipients graduate;
  • 90% of them are employed
  • Nearly 50% work for an Indigenous community or an Indigenous-owned business

“I am encouraged and inspired by the findings of this report,” says Roberta Jamieson, the President and CEO of Indspire. “It’s yet another indication that our BBF program is helping Indspire fulfil its North Star vision of having every Indigenous student graduate within a generation.”

The report found a marked increase in the demand for post-secondary education among Indigenous students. That both pleases and concerns Jamieson. “Right now, we are only able to meet 22% of the financial need of the students who apply,” says Jamieson. “Without more funding, the brighter futures promised to First Nation, Inuit and Métis students will fade.”

The Building Brighter Futures Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards Program Recipients’ Outcome Report is the inaugural research report published by Indspire’s Research Knowledge Nest. The Knowledge Nestwill use Indspire’s extensive holdings of research and data to provide policymakers with valuable insights into the educational attainment and outcomes of Indigenous peoples in Canada.  “This is a transformative change for First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities in Canada,” says Jamieson. “Instead of dealing with outsiders, they will be able to undertake their own studies, using Indigenous researchers with Indigenous frames-of-reference.”

Employment and Social Development Canada and Suncor Energy Foundation are founding partners with Indspire, working to provide a unique training program, mentorship and work experience for early-career Indigenous researchers and data scientists.

“This research report provides important, data-driven insight into First Nations, Inuit, and Métis student outcomes,” says Lori Hewson, director of community investment and the Suncor Energy Foundation. “The Suncor Energy Foundation is proud to be the founding supporter of Indspire’s Research Knowledge Nest. When people with lived experience inform research, the results are more meaningful, appropriate, and equitable. In this case, it also means supporting current and future students to have the best educational experience possible.”

The key findings of the Building Brighter Futures Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards Program Recipients’ Outcome Report will be presented live today, Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in a webinar that begins at 1 pm EDT. The webinar will feature Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire, discussing the importance of the Research Nest’s work, and Kristen Everett, VP of Programs and Student Success at Indspire highlighting some of the report’s major insights. They will be joined by Rob Gillezeau, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Victoria and member of the Research Nest Advisory Committee, and Joshua Thomas, one of the lead researchers of the report. Click here to register for this webinar.

Click here to view a full copy of the report.

For more information about the report or about the Research Nest initiative, come and visit us here or email research@indspire.ca .

About Indspire

Indspire is an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, Indspire provides financial awards, delivers programs and shares resources so that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students will achieve their highest potential. In 2019-2020, Indspire provided over $17.8 million through more than 5,100 bursaries and scholarships to First Nations, Inuit and Métis students across Canada. For more information, please visit indspire.ca.


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